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Polly Minick reveals her Helpful Tips on Rug Hooking

Polly Minick reveals her Helpful Tips on Rug Hooking

First of all, most publications and all of mine give you tips on supplies, wool, Rug Hooking, linen or monks cloth backing and these tips can be found on any website or search engine.  Because I have been hooking rugs for 40 years, I would like to share some of my private tips, that you do not find in most publications.

   1- Try Before You Buy

Make sure that before you buy anything, be it a cutter, hook, hoop or frame – make a deal with seller to let you try your hand at using it before you purchase.  Reason, all items work differently for each person.  For instance – 99% of rug hooking world use a frame, I however have NEVER used a frame I simply use a hoop as you would in needlework or quilting – I would be out money if I purchased a frame, just does not work for m


   2- Create Your Own Style

Many start off buying a kit, and that is a great idea, as it is complete and you can get started right away.  After you are comfortable with this – you will want to try your hand at creating your own design, get your own colors – you will soon find that your style, your personal style is being created.  Please make time to create your own style – you will never regret it – don’t let creating your own style scare you.


   3- How Much Wool Would I Need

The best rule is to take the uncut wool, fold it over 4-5 times and lay on image you want to hook – you will have enough wool.  And don’t cut all your wool at once, it gets tangled easily – much nicer if you cut wool as you need!


   4- I Say Water and Hooked Rugs Do Not Agree

I often state – be sure to not let your rugs get wet, as the dye from the rug can easily run and ruin your rug.  Be careful to be careful with them.  But then I also speak of washing vintage wool, and dying wool in hot water so people get confused.  That is correct – before hooked into a rug, you can wash and dye wool – AFTER hooking, be careful to not get wet as colors can easily run.


   5- What Happens When You Run Out of Wool

This is a time to be creative.  I have had this happen and there are a number of ways to correct this.  If you run out of wool and cannot find anymore of your wool in your stash – you can pull out a few loops around the rug and add an accompanying color and hook and it will be fine.  Just do not add the new color all in one patch, it will stand out, but if mixed in – will work.  I have been known to add another flower or image to background and pull out the missing wool and that works also


   6- COLOR

I often say if the colors are not working well together, no one will get close enough to your work to enjoy the pattern or technique.  Color is so important, if a wool that looks great before you hook – does not mix in well – PULL IT OUT, if it is not pleasant when you are hooking, it will not get better.  There are lots of colors around to use, pull out the offending color and find on that is more pleasant.


   7- How to dull a piece of fabric you feel is too bright

You may dull with a coffee or tea mixture – inexpensive and works well.  Just make up a pot of coffee, put wool in pot with enough water to cover wool, and then pour coffee or tea over mixture, let it set, add 1/4 cup vinegar, drain and dry.

Another way is to buy a color wheel at any store.   Look at the color wheel, and let’s say you have a piece of mustard that is way too bright.  What is across from gold or mustard on color wheel – purple.  So you mix up a very diluted 2 cups of a purple formula.  Again, put the too bright piece of wool in enough water to cover, mix up the diluted purple and start adding slowly and test color – when the gold or mustard is more pleasing to you – add vinegar, heat to hot but not boiling – and remove wool – dry and you have your more reserved color.

Blue – across from blue is orange.

Very simple – if mixing formulas and having dyes on hand is not you.  Use the easier plan of coffee and tea.


   8- Poor Man’s Dying

Before I ventured into creating my own colors – I used this simple tip.  I would gather up (let’s say blues) and see that they are all different and clashing a bit.  Put all the blue pieces in a pot of hot water, boil and the water turns dark blue – simply turn off heat and let set in pot overnight – in morning the water is clear and the dye has gone back into the pieces – they are still different shades of blue, but they do not clash.


   9- Two Color Rugs

I have been doing lots of two color rugs – mostly blue and off white.  When I do a two color rug – you can be certain that I will use 15-20 different shades of blue that work together and do not clash and same for whites – make sure you use lots of shades of same color for a great look.


Now, for some other – quick tips that have helped me:

*Keep your loops uniform – 1/4 in high
*Do not hook tightly – pull loops up, important
*Pull your tail up when you start and finish, clip later
*If using frame or hoop, make sure your backing is tight or taut
*Do not carry your wool over  – do not leave a loop on back, simple cut, pull up tail and start over in next row


Polly Minick


And you, what are your own tips for Rug Hooking?

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